Move over baseball, the sports world may have a new punching bag is it relates to performance enhancing drugs (PEDs).
Despite the two fairly notable and somewhat recent cases of players testing positive for banned substances -- and subsequently getting suspended -- in Rashard Lewis and O.J. Mayo, NBA players aren’t typically the picture that comes to mind when it comes to PEDs. This, in large part, is due to the fact that the image associated with PED abuse is big, massive builds, and a Barry Bonds-sized dome.
The truth is PEDs are just as often if not moreso used for their magic quick-healing effects as anything else, and basketball players -- like any other athletes -- desire to come back from injuries as quickly as humanly possible. Plus, there are certain players who rely on brute strength just as much as speed and agility in order to thrive in the league.
In a recent ESPN Magazine feature, Chicago Bulls guard and NBA MVP Derrick Rose described the PED problem in the league as “huge.” (maybe)
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Here is the exact question, as it was posed to Rose: “If 1 equals ‘What are PEDs (Performance Enhancing Drugs)’? and 10 equals ‘Everybody’s Juicing’…How big of an issue is illegal enhancing in your sport?”
In response, Rose said:
“Seven. It’s huge, and I think we need a level playing field, where nobody has that advantage over the next person.”
Now, with that in mind, after the initial reports of Rose’s statements began to circulate around the web, Bulls spokesman Tim Hallam spoke with CBSSports.com and described a conversation between himself and the league MVP on this topic. Apparently, Rose explicitly told the spokesman that he would “never say anything like that” regarding a league-wide PED problem.
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Then, the Chicago Tribune reported that a source close to the situation informed them that Rose believed he was being asked how big of a problem it would be if PED usage was rampant in the league.
Are Rose and his people telling the truth? Or, is this damage control to keep the point guard’s comments from taking over the storyline before today’s Miami Heat-Bulls Game 3 match-up?
Only time will tell.